Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Andy's Iron Skillet Worthy

The Smoked Sausage Skillet has become a fast favorite in our house.  In our recent efforts for better health - we've switched to Lean Turkey Smoked Sausage.  Andy thought he liked the regular better, but alas - the winds of change!  This skillet recipe is an easy one.  Who wouldn't like fried potatoes, onions, peppers and smoked sausage?  Bronwyn picks up an onion - "what's this?"  We answer "Deliciousness!"  Once again - we do not fool her, she can pick an onion out of just about anything, reminds me of my grandma...
This recipe is easy for a quick night, just takes a little time to chop a few things.  Since this recipe uses the iron skillet it means I'm off limits from making it.  Works out pretty well right?  You see, I don't touch that skillet.  It's Andy's.  I suggested a recipe once for it, it took some of the finish off... the finish he's been working so hard to create... well... that didn't go over so well.  So, now if I there is a recipe that says skillet - I made him decide of it's iron skillet worthy or if we need the non-stick skillet.  Thankfully this one made the cut.
Give this one a try - it's a great all in one dish and not too rough on the belt loops.  Don’t have an iron skillet?  The non-stick kind will work just as well.

Kielbasa, Pepper, Onion and Potato Hash  

1 (14 ounce) package turkey kielbasa, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
1 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 yellow, red or orange bell pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
3 small or 2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
olive oil
salt and pepper

1.In a heavy bottomed skillet (I like to use my cast iron), heat 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the potatoes to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Fry until golden brown and cooked through, around 8-10 minutes, stirring a few times to ensure even browning.  
2.In a separate skillet, brown the sliced kielbasa for around 5 minutes in 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium high heat.  Remove the kielbasa from the pan and set aside.  Add the peppers and onions to the skillet and season with a pinch of salt and pepper.  Cook for 5 minutes, or until softened, stirring occasionally.
3.Add the cooked potatoes and kielbasa to the skillet with the onions and peppers and mix everything together.  Serve nice and hot!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

New Pattern Release - Happy Halloween


We have a new pattern we've released!  It's called Happy Halloween. You may even see a cat sneaking behind.
I took the photo for this at our local cemetery, they just had their fence reconditioned and it felt like the perfect fit.  I know it's not Halloween yet, but have a Happy one!

Home Stitcher?  Contact your local needlework shop to be sure to get a copy!
Shops?  Be sure to contact Norden Crafts or Hoffman Distributing to stock up!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Clean Plate Club Welcomes New Member

We picked up 40 pounds of Zaycon Ground Beef.  40 pounds!  Too bad I didn't make this recipe with that beef.  Just think of all the possibilities with that beef.  One of them I found through Zaycon - another happy customer - is this Taco Braid.  Tacos in my house could be a 7 day a week event.  Andy is a fan of tacos.  When we were in Mexico he wanted to try every random food cart in the city that was selling tacos cooked off the top of trash cans.  Ok - slight exaggeration - slight.  But Tacos?  His friend.  I wanted to try something different than the standard corn tortilla shells.  I thawed a loaf of bread dough instead of the suggested pizza crust dough in a can.  I bought a bunch of these frozen bread dough hunks because it was cheaper and they stayed better longer in the freezer.  Just one day in the fridge and the dough was ready.  I wasn't so sure as I stuck this baby in the oven - even as we ate it - I wasn't sure as I looked around the table if this was a hit.  After multiple servings and almost plate licking - I would say this one is a hit and one to do over and over, and possible over again.  Even Bronwyn - a new member of the clean plate club.

Taco Braid 

1 can refrigerated pizza crust or 1 thawed white bread dough loaf
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 lb. Ground Beef
3 tablespoons Homemade Taco Seasoning
1/2 cup water
1 cup Fiesta Blend shredded cheese, divided
1 tomato, diced, plus additional for top, if desired
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 cups chopped Romaine lettuce
Sour cream and taco sauce for serving, if desired

Prepare a rimmed baking sheet by lining it with parchment.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
in a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat.
Add the chopped onion and cook until soft, about 3 - 5 minutes.
Add the Ground Beef and cook until brown.
Add the Homemade Taco Seasoning and water and mix until well incorporated.
Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 - 7 minutes.
Meanwhile, transfer the piece of parchment to your work surface.
Place the pizza dough on the parchment and roll it so that it measures 10 X 15 - inches.
With a pizza cutter, make slices 1 1/2 - inches thick and 3 - inches in along both long sides of the dough.
Place the ground beef down the center of the dough.
Cover the beef with 3/4 cup of cheese and then add the diced tomato.
Beginning at one end of the braid, fold the end up and wrap the first two slices over to secure it.
Repeat the wrapping with the remaining slices just until the last two.
Fold the remaining end up and wrap the last two slices over it to secure.
Gently brush the top and side with the melted butter.
Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese on top.
Transfer the parchment on to the rimmed baking sheet.
Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, until golden brown.
Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Cover with chopped Romaine lettuce and additional tomato, if desired.
Serve with sour cream and taco sauce.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Got dough?

Sometimes adding candy to cookies is am amazing thing.  Sometimes.  I would think that could be all the time, but thinking about Starburst cookies or jelly bean cookies - that sounds awful.  But M&M's into cookies?  That's pretty amazing.  Mini and regular size M&Ms are this recipe's secret.  Andy teased me as I put 3 more regular M&Ms on top "What, you don't have enough inside, you need more on top?" - I sure didn't see him complaining when he was wolfing those cookies down.  These are pretty amazing cookies.  Simple too.  This dough is better to make ahead, since it has butter in it.  If you bake them straight away - you'll get flat cookies with bumps of M&M's in their former glory.  Refrigerate?  Get a yummy cookie with chocolaty goodness.  Sold yet?  Go make some dough!  (And I don't mean money!)

Soft and Chewy M&M'S Cookies

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (1 stick)
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup instant vanilla pudding mix (not cook-and-serve, not sugar-free)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
3/4 cup M&M'S, plus more for adding to dough mounds 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, plus more for adding to dough mounds


1.To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large mixing bowl and electric mixer) combine the butter, sugars, egg, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until creamed and well combined, about 4 minutes.
2.Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the flour, pudding mix (add it as a dry ingredient, do not actually make pudding; cook-and-serve and sugar-free are not recommended in this recipe), baking soda, salt, and beat on low speed until just combined, about 1 minute.
3.Add the M&M'S, chocolate chips, and beat on low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds.
4.Using a large cookie scoop, 1/4-cup measure, or your hands, form approximately 11 equal-sized mounds of dough, roll into balls, and flatten slightly. Tip - Strategically place a few M&M'S and chocolate chips on top of each mound of dough by taking M&Ms and chips from the underside as well as adding more as necessary for a nice pop of color.
5.Place mounds on a large plate or tray, cover with plasticwrap, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, up to 5 days. Do not bake with unchilled dough because cookies will bake thinner, flatter, and be more prone to spreading.
6.Preheat oven to 350F, line a baking sheet with a Silpat or spray with cooking spray. Place dough mounds on baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart (I bake 6 cookies per sheet) and bake for about 12 to 13 minutes (if your cookies are smaller than mine, reduce baking time) or until edges have set and tops are just set, even if slightly undercooked, pale, and glossy in the center; don't overbake. Cookies firm up as they cool. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for about 10 minutes before serving. I let them cool on the baking sheet and don't use a rack. If you make your cookies smaller than mine, your baking time will be reduced.
7.Cookies will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Alternatively, unbaked cookie dough can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 4 months, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Sprinkles, it's all in the Sprinkles

Baked goods and me?  We are special kinds of friends.  I thoroughly enjoy baking them, sneaking the batter, decorating and delivering the goods.  Eating them?  Not always something I do.  This pudding cake?  This one got to me.
Andy was gone to Romania for a week and I was home with the kids. (Enter the possible craziness you think that might have been and double - triple - quintuple it.)  I had to make a dessert for an event at my brother's house.  Ask me what event it was?  Go ahead...  I have no idea.  Not even a clue.  And why would I agree to go there right after he'd been gone an entire week?  More good questions.  I tell you - I was home for a week with 2 small children, sanity isn't one of the things I would say I held dear that week. 
Anyway.  After all was said and done - I made this cake, it fluffed up way more than I thought but then fell and was just dense enough to be deliciously fudgy, but not a brownie.  The day after the serving of this cake, I took a piece out to take a picture.  Usually I take the photo and then put the piece back where it came from and move on with my life.  this piece called to me, I ate it.  What?  Not me.  I don't do those things.  Oh yes, me.  Oh thinking of it now - makes me want a piece.  Perhaps some baking is in my future... Allison's Birthday!  That's what we were celebrating!!  See... just thinking about that cake has the details clearing up... now where's my fork?

Chocolate Pudding Cake

1 box chocolate cake mix
1 bag (12 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 box (3.4oz) instant chocolate pudding mix
2 cup milk
16 oz Cool Whip
sprinkles, optional

In a large mixing bowl, combine chocolate pudding mix with milk. Whisk until smooth. Add in chocolate cake mix and beat until well blended. Fold in chocolate chips.
Pour cake batter into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish, and bake according to cake mix package directions.

Remove from oven and cool completely. Top with Cool Whip and sprinkles, refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Cake will be moist and dense...perfect!!
01 09 10